HAGERSTOWN, MD (May 3, 2017) –The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) partnered with ABATE of Washington County today to kick off a campaign focused on reducing motorcycle crashes in the region. Motorcycle fatalities statewide in 2016 increased to 73, up from 72 in 2015. To raise awareness about motorcycle fatalities, Governor Larry Hogan has again proclaimed May as Motorcycle Safety Month.
Each year in Maryland, an average of 70 motorcyclists are killed in traffic crashes and an additional 1,400 riders are injured. Half of the crashes involve a single rider crashes and are a result of speeding and/or impaired driving.
“It’s imperative that drivers and riders Share the Road,” said MVA Deputy Administrator Phillip Dacey. “These riders are our family and friends, and we need to look out for each other.”
“Motorcycle fatalities are easily preventable. I’m tired of seeing my friends die unnecessarily,” said Gary “Pappy” Boward of the Washington County Chapter of ABATE of Maryland. “Drivers must park the phone before they drive and look twice when making turns or changing lanes. These are simple ways to avoid tragic and unnecessary deaths.”
Awareness signs will be placed throughout Western Maryland to remind motorists to share the road with motorcyclists. In addition, MDOT will use television and web advertisements as well as social media to deliver this vital safety message.
Here are a few reminders for riders and drivers that will help save lives:
- Make sure you have the proper training – To operate a motorcycle in Maryland, you must have a license.
- Be aware all times, and obey the rules of the road.
- Remember to gear up before you get on the road – Wearing the proper gear can prevent serious injuries in a crash. For more information, check out our protective riding gear pages.
- Don’t speed, and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
- Always ride sober. If you drink, find a sober ride home – Drinking and riding don’t mix; 40% of all motorcycle fatalities were alcohol related.
- Always look twice for motorcyclists – Use your mirrors, and look over your shoulder to ensure safe turns and merges.
- Avoid distracted driving – Before you drive, park the phone.
- Watch your speed, and avoid aggressive driving.
- Provide riders with plenty of space – Allow enough room for riders to maneuver and you to adjust.
The kick-off took place at the Hagerstown MDOT MVA branch office and included an MDOT MVA Fast Track licensing event, a program that expedites the process by which motorcyclists can obtain a license. For more information check out MVA's Fast Track program.
Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving and promotes seatbelt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deathscampaign, please visit towardzerodeathsmd.com.